A whale of a project to save ‘pandas of the sea’

St Mary's Anglican Girls' School Year 12 students Emma Lynch and Tess Lyons. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d425775
St Mary's Anglican Girls' School Year 12 students Emma Lynch and Tess Lyons. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d425775

St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School years 11 and 12 students have organised a fundraising event, hoping to assist the Orca Network in freeing Lolita, a mature whale, from captivity in the Miami Seaquarium.

Lolita was caught and transported from her natural environment to the Miami Aquarium in the 1970s.

Year 12 student Emma Lynch said they were inspired to act after travelling to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands in USA’s north-west where they learnt about the complexities, social intelligence and migratory patterns of orcas.

‘Orcas are highly intelligent animals and they have elaborate emotional and social skills, which means they shouldn’t be in these conditions, in illegally-sized pools,’ Ms Lynch said.

St Mary’s will hold a special fundraising event tonight at 7.30pm, screening Blackfish, a documentary on the impact captivity has on orcas – known affectionately as “pandas of the sea”.

Head of marine science and diving at St Mary’s, Mark Staniforth, said his students returned from the United States trip hoping to contribute in some way.

‘It’s going to cost millions,’ Mr Staniforth said.

‘And while we’re hoping to make a contribution to that effort, this is also about raising awareness of the need to protect our marine animals.’

Tickets cost $10 each and are available online at www.stmarys.wa.edu.au.